BIST has introduced the Vetter Volunteer of the Year Award named for Esther and Alfred Vetter.  They have an adult son who sustained a brain injury many years ago, and have been instrumental in brain injury awareness over the years.  Esther was the founding Executive Director of the Head Injury Association of Toronto.

In 2017, BIST created three volunteer of the year winner categories to recognize the strengths and achievements different members of our community bring to help BIST grow and thrive, because we couldn’t do what we do without the work of all our amazing volunteers.

2023 Winners

Jordan Assaraf, Ambassador Category
Alden Dychtenberg, Top Fundraiser Category
Emily Honderich, Survivor / Thriver Category
Elizabeth Taye, Caregiver Category

2022 Winners 

Josie Caloma

2018 Winners

Alex Brazen, ABI Thriver / Survivor Category
Tanya Flaming, Ambassador Category
Kevin Redmond O’Keefe, Caregiver Category

2017 Winners

Rob Ashe, ABI Thriver / Survivor Category
Christiane Kokko, Caregiver Category
Diana Rockbrune, Ambassador Category

Frank Bruno – 2016 Winner

Frank has been volunteering with BIST since our days as the Head Injury Association of Toronto. He is always willing to help out – to set up tables before community meetings, to share his story at to use his connections with professional sports to give BIST members a free trip to the Hockey Hall of Fame, or donate NHL-signed hockey sticks for BIST fundraisers. Frank is always willing to help others living with the effects of brain injury learn how to thrive post-ABI.

Greg Neinstein – 2015 Winner

Greg Neinstein has been a member of BIST for over a decade. His dedication to volunteerism motivated him to contribute in a way that was aptly possible by leading the steering committee of the Mix & Mingle, BIST’s biggest fundraising event. In addition, Greg is a passionate advocate for survivors of ABI, not only defending their claims in court but also raising awareness of the cause.  Greg has dedicated a vast number of resources over the last 10 years to supporting conferences on ABI and raising awareness of the cause by presenting talks about ABI to health care professionals that can directly make a difference in the care of survivors.   Greg is greatly inspired by the ABI survivors he meets and passionate about being part of the greater ABI community.

Beverlee Melamed – 2014 Winner
Bev has demonstrated true commitment and passion as a volunteer.  As Co-Chair of the Volunteer Committee she has, on many occasions, gone “over and above” the call of duty, has taken the initiative to keep the ball rolling, and has never come to a meeting unprepared.  She attends every meeting with focus and works tirelessly to see that the committee’s commitments are carried out.  She also makes a personal investment in each committee member.  She offered her time to her new Co-Chair to go over our roles and expectations.  When a former survivor on the Volunteer committee became ill, it was Bev who continued to check in with her and report back to the committee.  Bev encapsulates the vision of a volunteer.

Collen Boyce – 2013 Winner

Colleen is about as dedicated a volunteer as you can get.  Colleen has been with BIST since the beginning as the founding Chair of in 2004 and currently sits on three committees – BIAM, volunteer and communication. She also volunteered in the interview process for the hiring of the staff position in Fall 2012. She is very active in her volunteer role and is always ready to lend a helping hand. Her enthusiasm and commitment to BIST and those living with brain injury is exemplary and she is a cornerstone in the delivery of our programs and services. She frequently attends BIST events and is always ready to lend her expertise and support to staff and volunteers.

Ian Bowles – 2012 Winner

Ian is currently the Chair of the Communications Committee. He has been on the Communications Committee for many years and is very active as the BIST photographer.  Ian takes time off work to attend the BIAM function each year. On top of all he does he is a regular Community Meeting participant and a mentor in the Peer Support Mentoring Program.  Ian has always demonstrated a strong support and commitment to BIST.